The Women’s Prize for Fiction – one of the most important awards in the literary world - has announced the 2022 longlist. Now in its 27th year, the Prize shines a spotlight on outstanding original fiction written in English by women from anywhere in the world.
The 2022 longlist features debut talent and acclaimed writers, covering a range of thought-provoking themes: identity, community, the burden of history, female friendship, family in all its forms and the darkness and light of the human spirit. The stories span the world, with tales set in Trinidad, Cyprus, Cape Cod, Germany, Vietnam and a dystopian future England.
This year's judging panel, chaired by author Mary Ann Sieghart, also includes journalist and editor Lorraine Candy; bestselling novelist and podcaster Dorothy Koomson; author and literary journalist Anita Sethi; and writer and broadcaster Pandora Sykes.
From the 16 books in the longest, the panel will announce a shortlist of six, which will be announced on 27 April. The 2022 Women’s Prize for Fiction will then be awarded on 15 June. In the meantime, here's a rundown of the full longlist...
Women's Prize For Fiction 2022 Longlist
Alethea Lopez is about to turn 40. Fiercely independent, she manages a boutique in Port of Spain, Trinidad but behind closed doors she's coping with an abusive relationship and seeking solace in an affair with her boss. When she witnesses a woman murdered by a jealous lover, the reality of her own future comes a little too close to home. A novel that explores gender violence, racism and female liberation, set against a Trinidadian backdrop.
Set in a dystopian England in the near future, food production has moved overseas and people are forced to move to the cities for work; the countryside is empty. In this world Jesse and his puppy Mister Maliks roam the woods until his family are forced to leave for London. Lee runs from the terrible restrictions of the town where he grew up. Isolde leaves London on foot, in search of the truth about her mother. A story of resilience and community, of connection to family and of the power of nature.
On a hot, sticky day in June, 15-year-old Bess finds out she's pregnant in the toilet of a kebab shop. Living in foster care, the way Bess sees it, she has three options: keep the baby, give it up for adoption, or have an abortion. She wishes that there was a fourth option – that none of this ever happened. She can't tell Boy, he won't want to know, her foster parents won't understand, and her best friend Eshal has her own issues, as she tries to break free from her arranged marriage. As the summer rolls on, both girls learn to stand up for their rights. A coming-of-age novel like no other, Careless is a story of female friendship, the care experience and following your dreams against the odds.. It's not exactly A coming-of-age novel like no other, Careless is a story of female friendship, the care experience and following your dreams against the odds.
Moving away from their apartment in Munich isn't nearly as wrenching an experience for Frau Greta Hahn as she had feared. Their new home is even lovelier than the one they left behind and life in Buchenwald would appear to be idyllic. But lying just beyond the forest that surrounds them is the looming presence of a work camp. Frau Hahn's husband, SS Sturmbannführer Dietrich Hahn, has been assigned as the camp's administrator. When Frau Hahn's poor health leads her into an unlikely and poignant friendship with one of Buchenwald's prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, her naive ignorance about what is going on is challenged.
On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below 'The Paper Palace', her family's holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water, she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, while her husband and mother chatted to their guests. So begins a story that unfolds over twenty-four hours as Elle's shocking betrayal leads her to a life-changing decision. A family saga of intrigue, love and lies.
In 1984, six-year-old Daniel Berry is happy. He and his young mother Eve have finally stopped running. They've landed in a small bungalow that feels like a palace. The family next door are raucous, generous, the closest thing to love they've known. In 2018, a 40-year-old Daniel Berry has given away a lifetime of possessions and is sleeping rough with a broken heart. His girlfriend has left him. His home has been turned into a holiday cottage. His mother is nowhere to be seen. Is it possible to go back to when we were happiest? Will anything still be there when we arrive? Daniel decides to find out...
A small independent bookstore in Minneapolis is haunted from November 2019 to November 2020 by the store's most annoying customer, Flora, who simply won't leave. Tookie, who has landed a job selling books after years of incarceration that she survived by reading, must solve the mystery of this haunting while at the same time navigating a year of grief, astonishment and isolation. A layered novel that explores identity, exploitation, and how the burdens of history still shape our lives today.
Two young Vietnamese women go missing decades apart. Both are fearless. Both are lost. And both will have their revenge. The fates of the two women are intricately linked, bound together by the history of possessed bodies and possessed lands. Racing from colonial mansions to ramshackle reptile houses, from sizzling street carts in crowded night markets to abandoned rubber plantations, Violet Kupersmith's fever dream of a novel traces the ghostly secrets of Vietnamese history through the stories of two women.
Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave? Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents, Martha has one last chance to find out whether a life is ever too broken to fix. A novel about modern love up and the confusion of mental illness.
Meet the Hanrahan family, gathering for a weekend as patriarch Ray Hanrahan, a famous artist, prepares for a new exhibition, the first in many decades. His three children will be there: beautiful Leah, always her father's biggest champion; sensitive Patrick, who has finally decided to strike out on his own; and insecure Jess, the youngest, who has her own momentous decision to make. Lucia, Ray's steadfast and selfless wife, is an artist, too, but has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. But Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice. An exploration of art, sacrifice, toxic family politics, queer desire and personal freedom.
After the death of his father, 13-year-old Benny begins to hear the voices of objects around him: a broken ornament, a piece of lettuce, a pair of scissors. When his mother – struggling with grief and life as a single parent – develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow ever louder. Benny retreats to his local library, where the books at least speak in whispers. There he meets others on the fringes of society, including a teenage performance artist and a homeless, alcoholic philosopher – as well as encountering a rather special book: his book, the story of his life. An inventive novel about loss, growing up and our relationship with the things that surround us.
Dawn breaks across the Caribbean archipelago of Popisho. The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do: a wedding feast to conjure and cook; an infidelity to investigate; a lost soul to set free. And two star-crossed lovers trying to find their way back to each other. When night falls, all have been given a gift, and many are no longer the same. A narrative of grief and love, childlessness and a crisis of sexuality, set over a single day.
It is 1974 on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet in secret. It's a place to forget, even if for just a few hours, the world outside and its sorrows. In the centre of the tavern, growing through a hole in the roof, is a fig tree. This tree will witness their hushed, happy meetings, and the tree will be there when the war breaks out, when the capital is reduced to rubble, when the teenagers vanish and break apart. Decades later in north London, 16-year-old Ada Kazantzakis has never visited the island where her parents were born. Desperate for answers, she seeks to untangle years of secrets, separation and silence. The only connection she has to the land of her ancestors is a Ficus Carica growing in the back garden...
From the night she is rescued as a baby from the flames of a sinking ship to the day she joins a pair of daredevil pilots, the life of Marian Graves has always been marked by a lust for freedom and danger. In 1950, she embarks on a Great Circle flight, circumnavigating the globe. It is Marian's life dream and her final journey: she crash lands into the Antarctic ice and is never seen again. Half a century later, Hadley Baxter, a traumatised actor beset by scandal, is drawn to play Marian Graves in her biopic, a role that will lead her to probe the mysteries of the vanished pilot's life. Great Circle is a drama about lives lived on the edge: two defiant women in search of an undefinable freedom.
In early 70s New York, Opal is a fiercely independent young woman, a Black punk artist before her time. When aspiring singer-songwriter Neville Charles discovers her one night, she takes him up on his offer to make music together. Just as she's finding her niche, a rival band signed to her label brandishes a Confederate flag at a promotional concert. Opal's protest and the violence that ensues set off a chain of events that will not only change the lives of those she loves, but also be a deadly reminder that repercussions are always harsher for women, especially Black women, who dare to speak their truth.
Nephthys is a taxi driver in Washington, DC, ferrying ill-fated passengers in a haunted car. Endless rides and alcohol help her manage her grief over the death of her twin brother, who was murdered and dumped in the Anacostia River. Unknown to Nephthys, her estranged great-nephew, 10-year-old Dash, is finding himself drawn to the banks of that very same river. It is there that Dash has charmed conversations with a mysterious figure he calls the 'River Man', who somehow appears each time he goes there. When Dash arrives unexpectedly at Nephthys's door bearing a cryptic note, Nephthys must face both the family she abandoned and herself. Creatures of Passage shows us an unseen Washington filled with otherworldly landscapes, flawed super-humans and reluctant ghosts.